Image courtesy of The Waterfront.

February has so many amazing events for you and your family, including a jaw-dropping special effects show, a weekend of Harry Potter and a big Lunar New Year bash!

The Hollywood Special Effects Show. Image courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

1. The Hollywood Special Effects Show at the Byham Theater: February 5

Get close to the action when the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents The Hollywood Special Effects Show at the Byham Theater. The interactive, explosive live family show takes you behind the scenes of many favorite blockbuster films to discover the science and secrets of creating movie magic. Go back in time with an animatronic dinosaur, feel the heat of an onstage inferno, marvel at gruesome sci-fi monsters, get blown away by apocalyptic weather and hold on tight through huge explosions. It all leads up to a finale with a large air cannon capable of firing a projectile more than 1500 feet. The touring show uses tons of pyrotechnics, and for some sequences, the audience is protected by bulletproof glass placed across the stage.

The Hollywood Special Effects Show takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available online, over the phone at 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office.

Image courtesy of Giant Eagle.

2. Giant Eagle Kid-A-Palooza Family Festival at David L. Lawrence Convention Center: February 10

Enjoy a festival for the entire family when the David L. Lawrence Convention Center hosts the Giant Eagle Kid-A-Palooza. The exciting indoor carnival includes a range of all-ages entertainment, educational activities, rides, crafts, games and more. Visit their main stage for Spring Into Fun featuring the popular children’s book character The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Kids can hop on the Hampton Car Jump or Dizzy Tubs Ride, soar at the Jumping Jumperoo Inflatable Corner, or meet a cast of Disney princesses from Frozen, Rapunzel and the Little Mermaid. They can also build at the Home Depot Workshop or make a paper flower from recycled magazines and experiment with circuitry kits from Kidsburgh.

Kid-A-Palooza takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $12.61 for adults; $8.38 for kids 2-11. Kids under 2 are free. Buy tickets at Eventbrite or at the door on the day of the event.

Image courtesy of I Made It! Market.

3. I Made It! Sweet at The Block Northway: February 10

Enjoy a bit of Valentine’s Day fun when I Made It! Sweet sets up at The Block Northway. Find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift at the market, where more than 70 artisans are selling handmade art, jewelry, clothing, toys, baby items, home goods, food and more. Warm yourself with hot coffee and cocoa as you shop. Looking for something a little more personal? Make your own Valentine’s craft project with Workshop PGH and other groups.

I Made It! Sweet takes place from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP at the I Made It! Sweet Facebook page for a chance to win a $50 gift card.

Image courtesy of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

4. Tropical Forest Cuba Festival at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: February 10

Experience the flavors, dance, music and plant life of the Caribbean during the Tropical Forest Cuba Festival at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The event helps to kick off Tropical Forest Cuba, a new installation incorporating many plant species never before seen in Pittsburgh’s glasshouse, including unique ferns, orchids and Cuba’s national tree, the Royal Palm. Enjoy family-friendly activities, entertainment, food and more inspired by Cuba, considered one of the world’s most botanically and culturally rich rainforest regions. Learn how to salsa dance, sample Cuban foods and view life-size replica carvings of five different species of Cuban birds. Guests will also get a taste of Havana’s classic car culture by viewing and taking photos with a 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline included in the exhibit.

All activities are free with Phipps admission. Members and kids under 2 are free.

Image courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Image courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

5. The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh: A Mo Willems Exhibit at the Children’s Museum: February 17- September 2

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will bring the work of a beloved children’s author to life when they present The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh: A Mo Willems Exhibit. Explore the imagination, whimsy and humor of writer and illustrator Mo Willems in this interactive, hands-on exhibit, which features familiar characters such as Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny and The Pigeon. Launch foam hot dogs at a moving target at the Pigeon Hotdog Launcher, learn how cartoons are made at the Pigeon Palace Theater or play dress up during the Naked Mole Rat Fashion Show. Play Cookie Plinko, create fun friends with Monster Blocks and take a reading break on a life-size version of the bus from Willems’s hit book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” You can also view artwork from Willems in the gallery, make your own creations in the art studio and more.

The Pigeon Comes to Pittsburgh: A Mo Willems Exhibit is included with regular museum admission.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.